Marxist Theory Featured

This article by Alan Woods was originally written in 1989 to commemorate 200 years of the Great French Revolution, with a new introduction by the author. Alan Woods explains the internal dynamics of the revolution and above all the role played by the masses.

In this in depth article Alan Woods looks at the specific historical role of Napoleon Bonaparte. He looks into the characteristics of this man that fitted the needs of the reactionary bourgeoisie as it attempted to consolidate its grip on French society and sweep to one side the most revolutionary elements who had played a key role in guaranteeing the victory of the revolution.

This article by Alan Woods looks at how the French Revolution affected British poets. It struck Britain like a thunderbolt affecting all layers of society and this was reflected in its artists and writers.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is considered by many as the greatest musician of all time. He was revolutionary in more senses than one. One of his main achievements was in the field of opera. Before Mozart, opera was seen as an art form exclusively for the upper classes. This was true not only of those who went to see it, but also of its dramatis personae - the characters who were shown on the stage, and especially the protagonists. With The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro in its original Italian title), all this changes. This is the story of a servant who stands up to his boss and outwits his master.

Despite his confused politics, Lenin had a great respect for the Russian anarchist Kropotkin, particularly as the author of the book about the Great French Revolution. He pointed out that Kropotkin had been the first to look at the French Revolution through the eyes of a researcher, to focus the attention on the plebeian masses, and to continually underline the role and meaning of the craftsmen, the workers and other representatives of the working people during the French Revolution.

Felix Morrow's book, written in the white heat of the struggle, remains a Marxist classic on the Spanish Civil war. It is one of the clearest account produced of the movement of the Spanish masses, describing the events in Catalonia and the role of all those involved. This book provides an excellent companion to Ted Grant's 1973 article and the writings of Leon Trotsky on this question and deserves to be studied by all class-conscious activists.

The Black Lives Matter movement has helped to shine a light on Britain’s own racist, colonial history. Fiona Lali looks at the origins of British capitalism, which came into being – in the words of Marx – with “blood dripping from every pore”.

With the Parliamentarians in a favourable position at the outbreak of the Civil War, thousands of men enlisted to fight on their side. The Royalists, relying on the less economically developed regions, were dependent on superior cavalry and a stubborn unwillingness to surrender. The stage was set for a colossal engagement between the two sides, which put a stop to any hope of compromise.

David Harvey is a university professor and a geographer who describes himself as a Marxist. His series of video lectures on Capital have been viewed by hundreds of thousands as a new generation of young people became interested in Marxism in the wake of the 2008 crisis. For these reasons, his recent statement that he is against the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism has logically caused a stir.

This document on the Black Struggle and the Socialist Revolution was passed at the 2008 National Congress of the Workers International League, the US section of the International Marxist Tendency (now Socialist Revolution). It was originally published on 25 June, 2008. We republish it today, as the arguments it raises are more relevant than ever. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has rapidly spread across the world in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by police in the USA. The size and strength of the solidarity demonstrations internationally has revealed widespread outrage at police violence and the system that engenders it. Comrades of the International Marxist Tendency have taken part in demonstrations in countries such as: the USA, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Mexico, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Sweden. Below is a selection of reports from Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Canada.

Coronavirus has exposed all of society’s systemic inequalities. Most glaringly, black and Asian communities in Britain have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The social conditions created by capitalism are to blame.

Charles I was determined to enforce his authority in matters of religion and state. His reforms to the church provoked horror and resentment from the people of England, and he exploited loopholes to raise cash through taxes, particularly the hated ship money. Terrible punishment was meted out against anyone who objected. But at the peak of his power, Charles was about to face a fall.